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Social Security Agreement between New Zealand and Australia

03 July 2017.

On 1 July, a revised Social Security Agreement between New Zealand and Australia came into force.

Social security agreements between the two countries date back to 1948. The last Agreement was signed in 2001, so it was timely to review this, to keep up to date with law changes and terminology, and address some anomalies that existed.

The intent of the Agreement has not changed. It continues to cover long-term entitlements such as age and disability payments and enables both Governments to share the costs of benefits paid to superannuitants, veterans and people with severe disabilities who have lived for part of their working lives in both countries.

Both the old and new Agreements, do not cover short-term benefits such as unemployment and sickness-related benefits for New Zealanders in Australia. Nor do these Agreements address the issues for New Zealanders living in Australia which came about as a result of changes to Australian immigration legislation.

The age of entitlement for those accessing an age-related pension under the Agreement has been aligned following an increase in the qualifying age for the Australian Age Pension, on 1 July.

There are two anomalies that have also been addressed in the new Agreement. New Zealand can now determine whether people are resident in Australia for the purposes of assessing eligibility for New Zealand benefits. The Agreement now allows same sex de facto or civil union couples to receive a married rate of payment, rather than two single rates.

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